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by volume. if you answered botswana, by the way, you're not entirely wrong. it produces the most diamonds by value. go to our web site for more. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." > newt gingrich has been all over television and is surging to the top of the polls. mitt romney, who's avoided the press like the plague, is slipping badly. is there a message there? and are the media going too far in making gingrich a target? >> you see, newt just can't help himself. he's kind of like a high-speed blender without a top on, you know what i mean? it just goes everywhere. >> david fromme, lifelon republican, says fox news is helping to ruin his party, or is he turning into a media gad good fly? and abc had a real presidential debate last night, but donald trump wants to
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moderate his own version of a debate. >> some of the candidates aren't coming because you haven't ruled out running yourself. >> well, i won't rule out a run, greta. especially if the party nominates a joke candidate like ron paul or jon huntsman or rick santorum here. [ laughter ] >> rick -- >> i'm talking. >> you know, it's sometimes hard for news shows to capture the absurdity of the campaign. "the daily show" and "saturday night live" have a major impact on 2012 other will give us much-needed comic relief. i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." when it comes to newt gingrich's surging presidential campaign, the journals have been something sly over the past week or so. news outlets carry stories about how republican leaders, even white house officials, are reassessing newt's candidacy and agreeing, hey, he might win the
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nomination. who they are saying is that media mavens have been backing off premature obituaries and taking newt gingrich seriously even as they argue over whether he's presidential timber. >> why does a guy with a i do bicycle gr-- i dobollic grin, i being serious here, why is the nasty guy doing the best of all the candidates now? the one who's obviously nasty? >> the new republican front return newt gingrich is soaring in the polls, not because republicans love newt. who could? it's not because they love him. it's because they just hate mitt. >> he is not a nice human being. he's a bad person had it comes to demonizing opponents. >> newt's trying to do something good. what you have here, these are snipers. these are political hit squads. these are asassins that are on rooftaps waiting for newt gingrich to come around any corner. they're going to try to take his head off from here on out. >> this is one strange campaign, as i can report firsthand having
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just gotten back from iowa. joining us in washington, john harris, editor-in-chief of "politico." margaret carlson, columnist for "bloomberg news" and "washington" editor of the week. the media scrambling back from a collective assumption, washington wisdom, that gingrich didn't have -- what's the technical term? a snowball's chance in hell. >> right. well, i think that's true. and that did indeed reflect what the apparent reality back when we were writing those obituaries, it's not a common thing for the entire -- candidate's entire staff to quit, as newt gingrich's did in june. saying that they don't think he's prepared -- >> it was an implosion. >> a genuine implosion. i think a lot of are surprised -- i know i am -- the durability of his candidacy. and i do think it reflects something that we have written accurately, that this party is not enthusiastic about mitt romney. and that anti-romney energy is going to go somewhere. the fact that it's settled on newt gingrich is a surprise to me. life's full of surprises.
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that's why in game is fun. that's why i love covering it. >> bachmann and -- and on trump and cain. but do journal swhoifts have been through -- journalists who have been through all the controversies, do they view this guy differently than, say, a lot of people who will vote in republican primaries? >> well, journalists are trying to remind people of newt gingrich's history. and it's a vast amount of it. >> remind them or warn them -- >> well, you know, it comes out as a warning. i think most of this. but the degree to which there are people willing to go on the record about newt who know him well -- i mean, republicans, that's a treasure trove of sources for the media because they still hold grudges against him as speaker. with this joe scarborough in your lead-in -- >> you're saying politicians, political colleagues hold grudges, not that journalists although that a few might. jacob wiseburg wrote the other day under the headline "is newt
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nuts," "one observes the former house speaker symptoms -- bouts of irritability, racing thoughts, spending sprees, that go beyond the ordinary politician's normal narcissism." would you say that some have such an innate hostility toward gingrich and view him as a self-important gas bag? >> right, i thought "is newt nuts" up there was right up there with "is rick perry dumb" in sellers of headlines. i think there's bias, i think some is unfairly. it comes from covering him for years. i think the guy, you know, newt gingrich is very smart. i think he definitely rubs people the wrong way on some occasions. i think that, you know -- >> he takes on the press regularly. >> he does. he does. but guess what -- here's something -- i think this is helping him. the more that slate and more than -- by the way, most of those clips did come from that cable network. and republican establishment figures attacked newt gingrich, i think the better he does. >> speaking of gingrich, last night, of course, was the abc news debate. george stephanopoulos racesed
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the question -- actually had come from the "des moines register," a co-sponsor of the debate, about infidelity. did it in a general way. every other candidate got to answer, then he came to gingrich and asked it in a more -- somewhat vague way. let's look at that and talk about it on the other side. >> should voters consider marital fidelity when making their choices for president? speaker gingrich, what do voters need to know about this issue from your perspective? >> in my case, i've said up front openly, i've made mistakes at times. i've had to go god for forgiveness, i've had to seek reconciliation. >> the action shot from his wife. you've been a debate panelist earlier with "politico" and msnbc debate. was it fair for stephanopoulos to raise that question? and if you are going to raise it, why not ask newt directly rather than kind of circle around -- since he was the obvious target of the question. >> one, it's fair. i think it's a subject that's in currency with a lot of
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discussion. >> the three marriages, the acknowledgment -- >> yeah, not just from reporters but from figures in iowa. the -- raising the issue, a fair question. as far as circling around, there's lots of ways to answer the question. i'm sympathetic to anybody on national tv trying to raise a delicate subject, that their is one that you don't necessarily want to grab somebody by the lapels and say, hey, what about your cheating. gingrich understood the question. i think he gave a pretty effective answer. >> he was prepared, obviously. >> there is bias about gingrich. face it, the media bias about gingrich right now late in 2011 is a pro-gingrich -- stay in the race -- >> the worst thing in the world for the media would be a mitt romney/barack obama campaign. >> right. >> both the guys are bore, and they keep the press at arm's length. you would get no action. >> what is the pertent nature of the pro-gingrich bias? >> that we love spectacle, competition. we love long campaigns. so we would love to see the
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equivalent on the republican side of hillary vs. obama in 2008 when all the -- went to june. >> it's not just longevity, gingrich is great copy. he's always throwing rhetorical bombs. >> absolutely. >> he's the -- we went from the period with newt, he's toast, history, just got out of the race. to he's surging, how is romney possibly going to stay competitive. has the pendulum swung too far where the coverage now suggests that romney is hanging on by his fingernails? >> no. we have polls which tell us that not only did -- is newt having a surge, it seems to be holding and growing. you know, the longest surge this time around has been about 30 days. it hasn't -- i don't think he's exhausted his period of his urge. no, this is factually based. do we hope, as john says, that he continues? protectered convention -- >> you want $10,000? >> do we think -- i think the only flub last night was mitt romney -- this was the israeli thing. you know, and the $10,000 shows that mitt romney is extremely
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wealthy. you might bet $100 -- yeah. >> a point about the press. we were writing off newt gingrich six months ago. there was very good reason for doing that. i think part of the problem in this news cycle, if you come forward and say boldly newt gingrich is done, you get attention, you get praise for that, you get a -- six months later, nobody calls you out on that. nobody looks back and says matt luis was wrong, he wrote a groif. nobody holds him accountable. >> do we still have, tracy, the sound bites from six months ago? can we play that? okay. while we look, let me ask you a related question. and if we can put up this graphic, gingrich is on the cover of the new "newsweek." he spoke extensively with "newsweek." last week, romney was on the cover of "time." the headline said, "why don't they like me?" he didn't cooperate at all.
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i know romney will go on "fox news sunday" next week. how much has romney's avoidance of the press hurt his ability to get the message out? >> i doubt such. his problems are structural and have to deal doo with how republican activists feel, not how reporters feel about them. anybody's press strategy, whether it be accessible or inaccessible, is driven by their particular self-interest in the moment. his interests have changed now that he's fighting back. he's suddenly more accessible. i think that's the -- >> all right. since matt lewis -- sorry, since matt lewis said nobody calls him out. let's call him out. we played this a couple of weeks ago. i'll play it for fun. >> gingrich's campaign has fallen apart. most of his staff has quit. the former speaker is pretty much done as a serious candidate. >> maybe newt gingrich's sort of fake campaign is totally dead now. >> this thing is over for newt. i think newt is done. >> we have to revise and extend our remarks on that. let me get to one more bit of sound. that is the donald trying to
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reinsert himself into the process by hosting with newsmax, a -- a candidate forum two days after christmas. most candidates saying no. here he is making the rounds. first on the "today" show, and then calling in to chuck todd's msnbc show and not being very happy with the hosts. >> this will truly be about the candidates, right? >> i want a great candidate. a candidate that is going to beat president obama. your statement is false. you said -- i quote, "donald trump wanted to respond to a poll." well, i didn't want to respond -- your people called my office about 40 times asking me to go into this. it's dishonest what you're saying, chuck. i wish you would sort of say it like it is and just -- i think you'd do better. >> kind of called him out on trying to get him on the program. what explains the media's utter continuing and ceaseless fascination with donald trump? >> i guess he's a flamboyant personality who can always be counted on to say provocative things. my own view is at that time for newt gingrich -- excuse me, for
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donald trump was maybe the first six or nine months this year when we're looking for entertainment. i actually think we're in a serious moment of the campaign. we're trying to assess people's actually qualifications to be president. so i think the trump business is kind of nonsense, that should properly be pushed not just to the margins but off the stage. >> it's nonsense. please, come on my show, donald. >> yeah. but it won't be. i don't think it will be pushed to the side because you can see just as he announced how much coverage donald trump has gotten. >> and then he's -- let's the hint drop, well, might run as independent. everybody rights that. does anyone take that seriously? >> i don't think so. but there is a feeling i think among grassroots republicans that is unless he renounces that and says "i will not run as an independent," then he shouldn't be moderating republican debates. >> a disappointment to journalists, we were looking for something to do christmas week, some of us. let me get to the next segment. over three weeks until the iowa
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caucuses. and most of the candidates are campaigning from tv studios or selling their books. whatever happened to meeting the voters? [ male announcer ] tom's discovering that living healthy can be fun. see? he's taking his vitamins. new one a day vitacraves plus omega-3 dha is a complete multivitamin for adults. plus an excellent source of omega-3 dha in a great tasting gummy. one a day, gummies for grown-ups.
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i was just back from uwa where i didn't -- iowa where i didn't see many presidential candidates, i did go to a ron paul event. and the pain is really playing out on television. here's dick morris on fox news giving his view of the position. >> this is the februaphenomenon. you don't win iowa in iowa. you win it on this couch. you twin on fox news. you win it in the debates. you win a national primary and it imposes itself on the early states. >> that could make this the most powerful piece of furniture in america -- >> absolutely. this is the casting couch. >> whether or not you were on that couch, margaret carlson, has this become a debate-driven tv studio campaign where the conventional wisdom about going
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out and to taun halls in people's living rooms is so much less important than it ever has been? >> it's so debate driven that when you talk to people in iowa, the leaders of the three big christian groups there, they're just horrified that the candidates have not come calling for. they're furious at mitt romney. they're using that as a reason not to put them on the list of potential endorsements. >> i had top republican officials tell me romney made a mistake by not spending much time in iowa. he kind of wanted to bypass iowa. an adviser told me we are engaging in iowa through the debate as opposed to going to cedar rapids and sioux city. that would suggest that what succeeds in this campaign are good debating skills, 30-second answers, and debates have always been important. is that -- has that changed the nature or dumbed down this presidential campaign? >> first of all, i think this is not an anomaly. i think it's part of the thing happening in society where we don't have regional accents
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anymore. we sort of watch the same tv shows. this could be good or bad. you could argue it's good to meet people. on the other hand, is iowa really predictiontive of what the country is like? should they be empowered with this personal, you know, retail politics? and you could also argue that rhetorical able, the ability to communicate is important for a president. and debates show that in a way that glad-handing iowans does not. >> there's been a question about why the early states have so much influence. the rationale for iowa and new hampshire, and we've spent time in those states, is that candidates get out and answer to answer tough questions from real voters. not the kind of questions reporters or voters would ask. and that whole tradition seems to me to be fading. >> i think that was always a wobbly ration alale asked -- io and new hampshire are terribly important because they're first. and there will be the so-called bounce. there's no question that a candidate that does poorly in
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the early state will have a very difficult time continuing, even if they had strong national appeal. so the -- iowa and new hampshire, we don't have to shed tears for them. they have disproportionate outsides and infair influence. i think it's true, the point that dick morris made, it sounds like matt agrees, that this is a national process. not a regional process. plays out on debates. we could do worse than that. those are -- >> killed rick perry. he would have been the nominee in the -- >> those debates, they're frequent, they test the knowledge of the issues, they test what you're actually positions are. they test your ability to think on your feet. they test the ability to communicate effectively. those don't seem like bad things to test. >> and if it reduces the tyranny of iowa, that's not bad. >> sounds like some people going to iowa. it was 12 degrees when i landed there, i must point out. before we go, tonight on "60 minutes," president of the united states will sit down again -- done a half dozen of these since being in the white house. you don't see, it's early, any of the republican candidates appearing on "60 minutes."
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which has a huge audience. at what point does that become unfair, anybody? unfair advantage for obama to command that stage? >> well, i mean, most of them, you know, for instance, mitt romney, doesn't want that. he doesn't want to sit down where a wlorpt hreporter who ha range and shoot himself in the foot -- >> i bet newt would do it. is this an advantage of an incumbent that you can go on any news show? >> it is. i've been interested in the mystical connection between "60 minutes" and president obama. he obviously likes that platforms. i don't doubt that that platform would be available to any republican once he emerges to the nominee -- >> in a day and age when there are so many cable channels, that show still bestows a cache that plays into obama's strategy of casting himself above the fray while republicans fight it out. >> i'm hearing that next week, eric cantor, the house majority leader will be on "60 minutes." so they don't really play this game with democrats.
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he's not running for president. margaret and matt, thank you very much for stopping by. up next, john harris on the speeded up news cycle that's produced a new form of campaign coverage, the ebook.
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"politico" published its eback called "the right fights back." bimike allen and evan thomas. here this is on the ipad? why publish an ebook about the campaign before a single vote has been cast? >> well, we published a book about the campaign this early because the story is interesting. this is an idea that john meacham, former "newsweek" editor, now at random house, brought to us. we really liked the idea because as mike allen's editor, i've always had a degree of frustration that he knows so much. there's so much information rattling around in his head health care reform and in his notebook. >> he could write it every day for "politico." but not in a form like this -- >> it's the nature of the business and the rush of events. you well appreciate, howard. you often don't have the time to step back and make a great story out of this. >> it's always been -- >> we've got -- really mike
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allen is a classic new media reporter. knows everybody, seems to know everything, reports in real time. evan thomas spent a career at "newsweek" writing long form narratives. >> this week's projects used to come out after the election. this is the tradition that goes back to the teddy white books, and mark halpern with game change. are you trying to preempt game change before the game is over? >> we're not trying to preempt game change but tell an interesting story in real time, in serial fashion. this is the first of these ebook. we'll do three or four more over the course of the campaign. >> is it harder to get candidates and staffers to talk about their ventures in real time while the thing is still going on as opposed to looking back after most of the candidates have dropped out? >> i don't doubt it's harder, but it's not impossible, as mike and evan have shown. >> one of the things i like, is you have a lot of people on the record. extensive interviews with newt gingrich. there are people on background, saying thing about, for example,
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white house official valerie jarrett and the boys club, don't like her so much. you got people to put their name to it even while the campaign is going on. are you disappointed at all that the book didn't generate more big headlines? >> we're pretty happy. made the best seller list on its first week. "the new york times" has a special digital ebook list. it shot up -- it's in the top ten. i think maybe the top five of that. so a bunch sold the very first day. mike and evan both did a lot of publicity in the first week. so actually we're pleased by it, as is random house. >> you are charging $2.99 to download this. is this -- >> $2.99. >> $2.99. >> people think that they have to pay $300 -- this is the bargain of the century. >> but does it do much for you financially in terms of publishing? >> we didn't -- we might make a little money out of it depending how the experiment goes. we undertook, it i say we, "politico" and random house, because we thought this was a useful experiment. one of the big questions facing media is what happens to long
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form narrative in this new world. we're trying to answer that question. we're really trying to learn something about the market for this kind of long form narrative, how to be effective. that's the advantage is what we're going to learn. >> both of have us written the old books that are between hard covers and, of course, there always comes a point when you can't add to it. more things are happening in news. here i suppose you could update until you press the button and publish it as an ebook. >> that's correct. >> again, a reflection of the hyperspeed this media environment -- >> a publishing industry, as you know, has historically been so slow. the entire news psych speeded up. books until recently had been on a six month, nine-month publishing -- >> like giving birth. >> schedule, right. that was somewhat frustrating, seemed to apply to every author except bob woodward, who i managed to get stuff in at the last month. even he has a monthly -- we've got days lead time. if we learn something interesting, up to the moment. publishing, it can go in this
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book and did in fact -- >> we'll look forward to more ebooks. thanks for stopping in and bringing your kids. coming up in the second part of "reliable sources," long-time conservative commentator says fox news and radio are creating an alternate reality. the caustic criticism of of the right wing media. and can a candidate survive a securing on "the daily show" and "saturday night live"? and rupert murdoch's team caught in a new con of spying. tl bud i'm stild stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't un-stuff your nose. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your stuffy nose. [ deep breath ] thank you! that's the cold truth! [ tires screech ] [ crying ] [ applause ] [ laughs ] [ tires screech ] [ male announcer ] your life will have to flash by even faster.
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liberal pundits love to bash fox news and conservative talk radio, and the feeling is obviously you'll. such criticism is striking when it comes from a lifelong republican and former white house speechwriter for george w. bush. there was the piece on the cover of "new york" magazine, "how the gop went mad: my party's break with reality." the founder of frommeforum.com, and contributor. he joins me in studio. you say fox radio have built a whole alternative knowledge system with its own facts, history, its own economics. you're targeting with an awfully broad brush there. >> i remember the world before these institutions came to being. and i remember welcoming them --
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their arrival. and i worked on the "wall street journal" editorial page for three years. and there was a time when in an overwhelmingly monolithic liberal media narrative they preside a corrective. >> what happened? >> let me give a concrete example. some of your viewers may have heard the story of the obama administration's war on christmas trees. you'll remember this, that they were going to tax the christmas tree, and this was -- it fed into a story about, you know, this muslim-y kind of president trying to destroy a christian holiday. this was a huge -- if you watched cnn or more than or "the new york times," this story didn't exist at all. it was a huge story in the media. what was it about? it was about american christmas tree growers struggling with chinese, imported chinese artificial christmas trees, trying to put together their equivalent of the got milk campaign or beef, what's for dinner, campaign, or pork, the other white maelt, campaign. in assessing themselves to fund an advertising campaign. maybe a good idea, maybe a bad idea. i don't even observe christmas. i don't have a dog in this
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fight. but to turn this into an example of -- of -- to make this a ground for a cultural conflict, to create a sense in large numbers of people, their being persecuted and attacked at a time when the country's in trouble, that's how this thing is fed -- >> when you say outlets like fox immerse their audience in pseudo-facts and pretend information, was brett baird doing that when he interviewed mitt romney on fox and pressed him in a testy interview? >> yeah. >> you seem to be indicting almost everybody at these outlets. >> the question is, what is the -- you can always find good people doing good work in bad situations. and bad people doing good work in good situations. the question is, what is the impact on the viewer. and we know, for example, that people who watch fox come away watching a lot less about important world events. >> you're assuming a cause and effect there. >> i'm afternoon -- that's just a correlation that we know. here's what we can see. let's go from the christmas tree to the biggest story in the world right now. what is going on in europe.
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and what the united states can or could do to help. one of the things you have to understand to understand this crisis is what drives it. if you participate in the alternative knowledge system, you would think that what is going on in super a debt crisis. there's a big article in the "wall street journal" op-ed piece, articles it how europe is in trouble because of its debts. spain has a lower debt level than britain. britain is not in crisis and spain is. but let's get to the why. >> why do you think since you were conservative, fox radio -- why do you think they're pushing -- and i'm not buying this, your view, they're pushing pseudo-facts? >> because these media institutions, they started as political projects. they started as ways to offer an alternative point of view on current events. they have become an important industry. and so they see the conservative world not as a set of ideas but as a demographic.
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and the way you appeal to a demographic is working by conflict. this is the oldest rule in how tv works. i've been writing -- i wrote a history of the 1970s that made this point. tv enhances its own credibility by destroying the credibility of all other institutions. and you can see this in polls. when other institutions' credibility declined, tv's credibility goes up. the advertising motto for local news stations, we're on your side. against all those other people who are not. >> this is domonization -- >> you need to create conflict and a sense of embattlement. you need to create a sense that we, this network, are your only reliable friends. >> liberal outlets don't do that? >> liberal outlets have historically not done that. until recently they didn't know that they were liberal outlets. >> they were operating under a false -- false self-portrait. but look -- >> this will come. this is a general poison that is happening to american culture and american media. yes, the liberals are catching up with results as bad. if i were a liberal, i would be
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writing about their problems and worrying about them. i worry about my team. >> this is afternoon -- let's talk about your team. a couple years ago in "news week," you said the republicans would regret ceding so much power to rush limbaugh. what happened to your television career after that? >> i used to do a lot of fox tv. every once in a while i would get a call from a fox booker, and then i would hear quickly back. i would say yes, for a game of it, andy that would say they were going a different direction. i'm a big boy, cnn is a great network. i'm happy to be here. >> but you said -- how was the republican party ceding power to rush limbaugh? he has a popular radio show, that doesn't mean that he is running the gop. >> what it means is -- look at what's happened this primary year. look in this year of incredible republican opportunity, with this terrible economy, weak incumbent. now look at the field of challengers. how did the field get so weak? that wasn't an accident.
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how do we take -- >> wasn't an accident? those are the people who chose to run. >> where are the other people? >> chose not to run. >> they chose not to run. in one way or another, they understood that they would be unacceptable. they couldn't get the platform. that the talent pool got constricted. and then even those who do run, who do have the talent, somebody like mitt romney, good at running things, he has to reinvent himself as something he is not. and something that the american people will like a lot less than they would like what he actually is in order to make his way through this process. >> you say in this piece that some of your friends are asking whether you had gone crazy. given where you are, and you have become a critic of the gop, are you still a republican? >> i am still a republican. i look forward to voting for the republican nominee for president in 2012. i have on my site, i have written about what is wrong with the president's health care plan, what is wrong with the stimulus plan, about the foreign policy. i don't like what he's doing in the middle east. i think generally he's a weak
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person who's not good at the -- >> to be fair, the media, george will, for example, have -- they're ultraconservative journalists, columnist, willingly take on members of their team. >> good for george will. i'm a big fan. but here's the fundamental question this year. in this year of terrible economic distress, the fifth hardest in a row, how is it that we have a theme of deficit reduction and does not have ideas about how to still late the economy o -- stimulate the economy and make things fair? the payroll tax cut, not -- >> to connect the dots in the remaining seconds here. you criticize the direction and the tactics of the republican party. but i -- i'm not clear on how fox news and the editorial page, how somehow they have forced this -- >> because there have been people who were more creative. somebody like rick santorum is
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willing to say, hey, upward mobility in america is not only the best in the world, it's one of the worst in the world. and they utterly marginalized. >> deliberately? >> it's -- it's -- >> the fact is -- >> it's an ecosystem with its own rules. if you go on tv and say there's no other country in the world where you can be born poor and become rich, you get a megaph e megaphone. if you tell the truth that the united states is worse than even great britain in upward mobility, that's a facts. >> a provocative conversation, it will continue in many forms. thank you very much for joining us. after the break, jon stewart and 2012. who's looking worse on "the daily show" the politicians or the press? here you go. driver's license. past five years' tax returns. high school report cards. and i'm gonna need to see a receipt for that watch you're wearing. you know, you really should provide us with a checklist of documents we're gonna need up front. who do you think i am? quicken loans?
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when "the daily show" turned 15, i started thinking, is there another program that's not quite news but not just a comedy show, that's had more impact on politics through laughter and ridicule that long ago eclipsed "saturday night live"? the 2012 campaign is prime time for jon stewart as he pokes the pundits for being absurdly fickle. >> i can't believe it. when newt gingrich was on his deathbed, the media just divorced theirassemblieses from him. -- theirselves from him. who does that? that's the political media. they care about two things -- are you going win, or are you
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dead? bachmann got a taste of it in july. >> look who's surging now, michele bachmann, rockets up the ranks. >> michele bachmann. now leading the republican pack -- >> with the death of her campaign, who will rise to complete the circle of pro-life? >> texas governor rick perry jumping into the lead as the new republican front-runner. >> president perry! it is on this day, august 31, 2011, that i inaugurate rick perry, the 45th president of these united states. >> rick perry's finished. he's out. [ laughter ] joining to examine the "daily show" factor in 2012, in new york, richelle sklaar, and robert thompson. do we make too much of it because so many journalists watch the program? >>. >> i don't think we make too much of it nor do we make too
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much of is t"snl" or "the colbe report." you raised an important point. people acting as message magnifiers are all watching this show. even if "the daily show" has a relatively smaller audience level, but i guess 1.5 million last i checked, it's still being watched by the people who are going to be tweeting, write, including it in their coverage. >> i guess we're amplifying here, as well. what does jon stewart do in terms of coverage of politics that journalists can't or won't do? >> well, for one thing, he is doing real political satire. and in the mass media on television, we have not had a lot of that. before "saturday night live," we had johnny carson. he told jokes about politics but certainly wasn't a political satirist. even "saturday night live," chevy chase falling down like gerald ford. that was hardly real political satire. for the past several years, jon stewart has been doing real essays. most of his show was about
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politics. he's got evidence and clips, and he's got attitude. and maybe that's what journalists are afraid to do is to cop the attitude that he's got. but frankly, i think reporters should be doing in the journalistic idiom a lot more of the kind of thing that jon stewart does four nights a week in the comic idiom, which is really bringing these sort of essays together and giving us the evidence of what he's talking about. >> showing the clips helps hole politicians and others accountable. rachel, a lot of what stewart does, which is why journalists love him, but also sometimes cringe, when they see themselves or their colleagues on the screen, is to mock our superficiality and sometimes silliness. >> yep. that's right. basically. i mean, i really want to emphasize it's really not just jon stewart. if you stay up the extra half-hour and watch steven colbert, he lands some pretty amazing, deft punches. returning to "snl," i think it's important to note that gerald
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ford as klutz was immortalized in chevy chase's depiction of gerald ford. >> even though he was a pretty good athlete in reality. >> right. exactly. and it was actually -- i always thought one of the most interesting moments in political comedy was after the writers strikes ended in february, 2008. "snl" came back lampooning the media's love affair with obama and blowing it up in a way that the media could no longer avoid. that actually really changed the course of the coverage. >> that was an important moment, 2008. so, of course, was tina fey playing sarah palin. i wonder if it's having the same impact this year. let me play a recent clip of jason sudakis playing the wild and crazy mitt romney. >> mitt romney is going to really let loose. get ready for mitt romney -- raw and unleashed. ♪ >> getting too graphic, did i ever treat you in a way that might be construed by some of those pruds oes out there as sel harassment? >> nope.
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>> nothing? >> no. >> i never made a comment about your clothing? >> you said i was a sharp dresser. >> uh-oh! uh-oh! overline. over the line. keep me away from the ladies because i'm a real dog. bark. bark. >> that's pretty funny, but robert thompson, is it just kind of jokes about politicians as you were saying or does it tell us something a little deteached deeper about a candidate like romney that journalists can't touch? >> i think "saturday night live" depends on impersonations and exaggerations. that's their stock and trade. it's a pretty short season, only on once a week, and those funny political bits often open the show. but they do a lot of other stuff that has nothing to do with politics. though i do agree that media love affair with obama bit and that tina fey thing with sarah palin were moments that "saturday night live" really had a significant impact on how we
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think. the daily show, on the other hand, is not only going after journalists but after these political leaders. and it's doing it night after night after night except for friday and the weekend. >> i think it's really important to note that the life cycle of "saturday night live" now includes next-day coverage on every single one of these sites. all of the videos are embedable and where i come from, "the huffington post," where i came from, politico, all these sites are blasting the sketches the next day. >> a much bigger megaphone than in the chevy chase days but fred armson playing barack obama hasn't had much impact on the culture. >> it's not every cast member playing every politician is going to hit. i actually think he's done romney a huge favor by portraying him as dog gone it, a really nice man as opposed to someone who is coldly calcula calculating about how his positions will be interpreted. but, you know, the season unfolds and you see how it goes.
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>> of course the president is a key player. i think you like that impersonation more than i do. robert, is it hard for the "daily show" and colbert and the others to be particularly funny when you have trump and rick perry's brain freeze and herman cain and the women turning the campaign into a circus without any help from the comedy writers? >> yeah. it's almost as though these jokes are writing themselves. but they seem to be able to amp it up a bit. then they can always deal with the press. we always used to call the press the fourth estate. i think we could call some of this comedy the fifth estate, which is kind of keeping the press keeping the other three in place. the "daily show" before september 11th, they changed after this for some obvious reasons, they used to open their show, the "daily show," the most important television program in the world. >> civilization. >> and in an odd sort of way, some people are beginning to wonder if that may not be the case. >> this television show has got
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to go. rachel, robert, thanks very much for analyzing the comedy for us here this morning. still to come, rupert murdoch's company admits to some pretty serious skulduggery, tv experts for hire who aren't exactly objective, and baseball cracks down on provocatively dressed journalists.
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time now for the "media monitor," our weekly look at the hits and errors in the news business. here's what i like. propublica dug into justice department records and found white applicants are nearly four times as likely to receive a presidential pardon as all minorities combined, and applicants were three times as likely to win white house abrooufl a member of congress in their corner, which is more likely as you might imagine when the convict has contributed to the lawmaker's campaign. my kjell bachmann went to bat for frank benis until after fbi agents raided his home in 2008. he was charged with year with fraud and money laundering. for politicians on both sides of the atlantic, the watch word has been don't mess with rupert murdoch's empire. now we know how dangerous it can be. tom watson, a british member of
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par lam, has been a leading critic of the murdoch operation. they put watson under surveillance two years ago. a private eye was hired to surreptitiously follow the lawmaker. that is chilling, though hardly shocking give than murdoch's news of the world felt free to hack the phones of not just celebrities but ordinary british victims of tragedy. ever wonder about some of these so-called experts on tv and how objective they really are? take allison rhodes, who recently appeared on the "today" sh show. >> here to tell us what's out there is alon rhodes. she's a national family and safety expert known as the safety mom. >> exactly. >> trust truly the virtual baby sirte. i travel a lot. i'm on the road. this is the adt pulse home monitoring system. wireless cameras, motion detectors, texts that come into my iphone if my daughter doesn't walk in the door from school. >> but rhodes is paid to peddle the product, this home monitor.
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she defends herself by saying she really believes in the product and there's no evidence that nbc or other news outlets new she was paid. but it's not only misleading for her and other experts to pose as independent critics. it's against federal laws and networks and stations have to do a better job of vetting folks they're putting on the air. attention sports writers. nouk lo gonger go into a major league locker room if you are wearing see through clothing, ripped jeans, strapless shirts, excessively short skirts or exposing your bare midriff. the league is imposing a dress code on the scribes. what's going on? baseball doesn't want a repeat of the incident last year when mexican tv reporter ines science was sexually harassed in the new york jets football locker room. baseball imposing a sartorial strike zone. isn't that treating reporters like little leaguers? that's it for this edition of "reliable sources." i'm howard kurtz. join ust

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Reliable Sources
CNN December 11, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EST

Series/Special. Examining media coverage and how it can shape the news. New. (CC)

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